1 January 2009 | bensonmum2
A nice performance from Jean Peters
After the mysterious death of his niece, Cam Cameron (Joseph Cotton) begins to suspect that the child's stepmother may be responsible. When the autopsy reveals the presence of strychnine in the girl's system, he's convinced that his dead brother's wife, Lynn Cameron (Jean Peters), is the only person with both a motive and the opportunity. Cam now begins to fear for the life of his nephew. He's got to act fast because Lynn intends to take the young boy to Europe.
While I've given A Blueprint for Murder a positive rating and I readily admit I mostly enjoyed the film, much of what I've got to write about is going to seem negative. As good as it is, it has far too many problems to be called great. A Blueprint for Murder is about the most straight forward mystery/thriller I've run across. And that's part of its biggest weakness. There's no mystery regarding the killer's identity. It's made quite clear early on that Lynn killed her niece. There seemed to be a half-hearted attempt to use Cam as a red-herring, but anyone with half a brain could figure out in 3.2 seconds that Cam couldn't have committed the crime - he wasn't there. Maybe I just imagined the light of suspicion being pointed at Cam because I so wanted to be thrown some kind of curve ball. Even though the killer is known, director Andrew L. Stone is able to wring some tension out of the final scenes as Cam tries to prove Lynn is a killer. You get the feeling that even though you know Lynn is responsible for the girl's death, she just might get away with it. These scenes are, however, undermined by an ending that's terribly rushed with action that, unfortunately, takes place off-screen. Too bad, because A Blueprint for Murder could have been much better.
One of the real highlights for me in A Blueprint for Murder was the acting. The performance of Jean Peters as Lynn Cameron is enlightening. I'm not overly familiar with her work, but she's marvelous as the apparent caring, wonderful parent who is hiding a cold, unfeeling heart. I may have to look for more of her work.